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Genet Med. 2010 Apr;12(4 Suppl):S39-70. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e3181d72661.

Myriad Genetics: In the eye of the policy storm.

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McGill Faculty of Law, McGill University, 3644 Peel Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


From the late 1980s, a storm surrounding the wisdom, ethics, and economics of human gene patents has been brewing. The various winds of concern in this storm touched on the impact of gene patents on basic and clinical research, on health care delivery, and on the ability of public health care systems to provide equal access when faced with costly patented genetic diagnostic tests. Myriad Genetics, Inc., along with its subsidiary, Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc., a small Utah-based biotechnology company, found itself unwittingly in the eye of this storm after a series of decisions it made regarding the commercialization of a hereditary breast cancer diagnostic test. This case study examine the background to Myriad's decisions, the context in which these decisions were made and the policy, research and business response to them.

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